Sunday, August 24, 2014

Firsts

I want these Dutch ladies to be my friends. Based on this short video, I'd actually watch them do pretty much anything for the first time as long as they are together.



I think my favorite part is when An calls her husband after their flight lands. Oh, and when Ria and An both fall into the water at the beach. Adorable. xo


h/t to HelloGiggles

Friday, August 22, 2014

An Introvert's Heart Wants What It Wants

So perfect. I love the Bay of Magazines, always and forever.




Friday, August 1, 2014

Tuning In



At least twice a week, I find myself sitting in my car in front of my home or in my parking garage at work listening to the end of a story on NPR. And at least five times a week, I find myself tearing up at the reporting, whether it be about war or love or death or just a prime example of human kindness.

Yesterday's Ari Shapiro piece on Sarajevo was beautiful. It was short and plainly reported (I'd maybe call it unassuming), but that added to the impact of the subject's words. We were given a small glance into Ella Pinto's life, who, among other things, is a survivor of the Holocaust.  Last month, she traveled from Israel with her son and daughter-in-law to visit the place where she grew up, a bruised Sarajevo, and the words she spoke to Ari's translator at the end of the report struck a chord with me.

"We need to let them know what we lived through so they will understand why peace is important."

Pinto's life is full of moments that should be shared.  Such a perfect example of why public radio is so important.


P.S. I love when Ari Shapiro is reporting from faraway lands, but love it just as much when he's co-hosting All Things Considered.


Photo courtesy of Ari Shapiro's Instagram feed
Quote from NPR

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Typecast much?


 
I watched Girl Most Likely over the weekend and even though I'd give it a solid B-, it wasn't as good as I expected. At first, I thought that I didn't love it because of the farcical ending.  But then I realized that I had a very similar reaction to the movie, Bridesmaids, which was a film that didn't thrill me even though it got rave reviews.  Kristen Wiig plays basically the same character is both of these movies: mid-thirties, failed career, failed love life, eventually winds up living in her mother's home with no end in sight.

Okay, so generally no real issue with that (how many times has Katherine Heigl or James Marsden played similar characters in subsequent movies?). My problem is that these films are toted as comedies when they clearly are not pure comedy. I think they toe the line of dramedy at best. Sure, all the ladies in Bridesmaids wind up pooping while in expensive bridal wear but there's never any mention of the mental breakdown of Kristen Wiig's character.  In Girl Most Likely, the main character fakes her own suicide to get her uninterested boyfriend back.  Just because Wiig is quirky and these movies are ironic doesn't mean that they should automatically be classified as comedies.  Perhaps people won't go to a movie starring Kristen Wiig unless it's a comedy.

That being said, there are some memorable moments in Girl Most Likely: Darren Criss as a Backstreet Boy impersonator is great as is Annette Bening in the typical 'mom' role, although I think she is great in pretty much anything.  Also, the scene where Kristen Wiig's character, Imogene, wakes up in a casino parking lot in Atlantic City, still dressed in her johnnycoat from the psych ward, and walks into said casino searching for her gambling mother was pretty entertaining.  As someone who grew up in a family of gamblers, this rang true to me.

I'm excited to see The Skeleton Twins with Wiig and Bill Hader coming out in September, although this serious movie has a semi-uplifting trailer. I think it's time to embrace Kristen Wiig's ability for dramatic roles--who's with me?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Effects of Little Women

Without fail, I always cry when Beth dies in Little Women. Seriously, how can you not cry?

Also, I tear up when Jo refuses Laurie, and then again when Jo finds out that Laurie married Amy.  It just seems so unfair.

Don't judge.




Monday, June 2, 2014

Books: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell



You know how sometimes you see the cover of a book and you know right then that you want to read it?  I felt that way when I saw the front of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park but it's been unavailable at the library for some time (and it probably will be for a while). Last week, I saw her first novel, Attachments, shelved in the adult 'Fiction' section at the bookstore and decided to buy it. I proceeded to read it in less than two days. Can you tell that I liked it?

Attachments has such a fun narrative, and no matter how flawed Rowell's characters are, they're just so damn likeable. Their feelings and actions throughout the book are true to real life in so many ways.  Plus, the book takes place during the Y2K 'crisis' (did you kind of forget about that because I definitely did) and it's really accurate with regard to the pop culture references, technology trends, and preoccupations from a decade ago.

Confession: I want to spend more time with these people, ahem, characters. I can totally see myself going to the movies with Beth, who's a film critic for the local paper in the book. And Lincoln? Even though he does a few questionable things, he reads like a dream throughout the book--sensitive, caring, smart and good-looking?! Personally, I'm already married to my own Lincoln but there's still a ton of appeal with this guy.  If I met any these characters at a party or at a coffeeshop, I'd want to be friends with them for sure.

So yeah, read Attachments.  As for Eleanor & Park, I'll probably wind up buying a copy. I mean, I don't normally shy away from fighting the pre-teens to get on the E&P library waitlist but if it's anything like Attachments, I'll be happy to have a copy in my bookcase after I read it. xo



Image courtesy of Rainbow Rowell's site

Friday, May 30, 2014

Babyrama

Lately, I feel like everyone I know has a baby and last weekend, Anthony and I saw all of those people. It was a three-day baby parade but luckily, the kids were adorable and well-behaved; we were able to hold them and play with them and then leave them with their parents. Not a bad deal.


And on top of that, we just found out my sister-in-law is having a girl. Another little lady to add to our crazy family. It's an understatement to say that we're excited for her arrival in October. xo

Friday, May 9, 2014

Meaning




Yesterday when I came across this New York Times article on heirloom wedding rings, I felt my stomach pulse a bit.  My own wedding band is a ring that my grandmother gave to me less than a year before she passed away.  It's one of my most treasured belongings.

The ring wasn't actually my grandmother's originally. It was given to her mother, my great-grandmother, by my great-grandfather on their 25th wedding anniversary.  When they first married, he didn't have money to buy her a ring with a diamond so he wanted to get her a fancier one after all those years.  Eventually, she gave it to my grandmother, one of her four daughters.

I'll admit that I was hesitant to take the ring at first. My grandmother wore this ring every day--as she grew older and her fingers more frail, she even added several layers of tape to the bottom of it so that it fit tighter and she wouldn't worry about losing it. Taking it from her made me feel like I was stealing her favorite possession.  But after several back-and-forths, I agreed and she looked so relieved that I instantaneously felt guilty for not taking it as soon as she offered.

This article definitely focuses more on the money saved when using a family heirloom or vintage ring, but that really wasn't a factor for us. This ring had been loved by people that I loved and who had long, happy marriages;  that's a pretty solid foundation if you ask me.

And now for my favorite part of the ring: it's engraved inside with my great-grandparents' initials and the date that the ring was gifted. It's so tiny that you can barely see it on the rounded surface, and it's  nearly impossible to make out the actual words. My grandmother had worn the ring for years and never noticed the message.  When Anthony and I took the ring to be sized, the goldsmith casually asked, "Do you want to keep the engraving?" We said yes, obviously.

A few of my friends have been judgey about my wedding band choice. They think I should have bought a bigger ring, a fancier ring, or a ring without any history (also referred to as the hideously-named 'virgin rings').  I've never regretted my decision though. Family and marriage are continuums. I'm reminded of that every time I look down at my hand.




Photo credit: New York Times

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When the Needles Are Gone, It's Time



Tonight we got rid of our Christmas tree. I can't tell if this makes me very festive or extremely lazy.

Our poor tree has done a great job dressing up our apartment but every inch of it is dry and pointy, and it's shedding all over the floor at an alarming rate.  Also, I began to feel like it was a giant needle-covered piece of kindling, which made me worried about turning on the heat. Honestly, it's been in the corner of our living room for three months and I sort of forgot it was there.

So yeah, Christmas is over. Come on, Easter--we're ready for you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hearts (and Cars) Afire


Valentine's Day was kind of a bust this year. I don't consider it to be a real 'holiday' so Anthony and I normally just celebrate by giving each other cards and some type of candy from CVS. And not one of those red hearts filled with candy either. I'm talking about a big giant bag of M&Ms.  There isn't a rose in sight at our home.

On Friday morning, my car had a meltdown while I was driving to work. I barely made it to my parking garage, but at night, I decided to fill up with coolant, say a prayer and hightail it to the mechanic, after a brief stop at my grandfather's house.  After several stops on the side of the road, I finally made it there. I've never been so close to having my car catch on fire. Valentine's Day truly filled my heart and my car's engine with flames of love.

By the time Anthony and I met up, it was nearly 9:00pm and we were both starving.  We had a very romantic dinner at the diner, complete with one milkshake and two straws, Lady and the Tramp-style.

After getting my car back on Saturday morning (belts fixed=cool engine, no overheating and no more deafening squealing while driving), Anthony and I went and had a grown-up lunch at Mecha Noodle Bar. We each ordered different phos, which were both great, but the hot chili oil dumplings were so delicious that I seriously could have eaten three thousand of them.

Lesson of the weekend: sometimes rice noodles and car repairs are pure romance. xo

Monday, February 10, 2014

Reason #874 That I Love My Husband

 
Sure, we got stuck in the ice, but how gorgeous is this snowy beach at high tide?


When things go wrong, my husband is never one to point fingers. Instead, he calmly (sometimes too calmly in my opinion) tries to figure out how to alleviate the problem. It only makes me love him more.

On Saturday, he voluntarily came with me to the Paper Source, and I then bought him a cupcake at Crumbs. It was freezing out and I thought it'd be fun to get some hot cocoa to go along with the cupcake for when we got home. The last time we were at Shake Shack, there were signs for their new Dark Chocolate Cocoa (supposedly made with Mast Chocolate!) so that's where Anthony stopped on our way to the highway.


It took FOREVER, not to mention that our order was actually put in wrong.  Our receipt said one 'hot dog' instead of one 'hot chocolate.' Umm, there's a big difference there: one is a tasty drink and the other is compressed processed animal parts.  After that was squared away and we were on the road, I had the brilliant idea of stopping by the beach. I thought the water would be beautiful in this blustery weather.

So yeah, we got stuck in the beach parking lot. The city hadn't really plowed the lot, yada yada, Anthony had to get out and rock the Jeep back and forth until he literally pushed it out of the ice ridges and we could drive away.  I felt horrible about getting us into this predicament and he just smiled and told me not to worry.  He didn't complain once.

Moral of the story: I am not full of great ideas, but I was lucky enough to marry a wonderful, incredibly patient man.


BONUS
Reason #1390 That I Love My Husband: when I asked him how the monstrosity of a pimple on my chin looked, he told me it wasn't bad at all, even thought it looks like a giant crater. He has to love me a lot to lie about such a horrible blemish.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Doggy Bowl

Everyone keeps talking about the commercials that air during the Super Bowl, but we're almost at the end of the game and I still haven't seen anything that compares to the cuteness of this Subaru commercial.


Seriously, how do they get that pup in the car seat? xo

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nope, That's Not Strawberry Jam

 

A few months ago, I noticed that most grocery items that used to come in glass jars now come in plastic containers of some sort. I have a feeling that in the near-future, my salsa will come in some kind of flimsy compostable plastic baggie.  I don't use many jars now but I know that someday, I'm going to need one and regret not saving enough during the glass jar heyday.

At least this is what I tell myself when I look at the collection of jars in my cupboard. 

They do come in handy though. For dinner tonight, I made southwest salads and decided to mix up some dressing.  I threw everything in a jar and then shook it. And seriously, a few shakes of a jar is way more effective than a whisk can ever be.

One thing I need to start doing is removing the original labels and marking the contents on the lids.  Finding salad dressing in a jelly jar isn't that bad, but there's an old salsa jar holding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in our fridge and opening that by mistake might be a bit traumatic.  xo

Friday, January 24, 2014

Resisting the Hibernation Urge

When it's cold outside, I always wind up craving hot cocoa from Dunkin' Donuts. It's a drink that I normally don't even like. It's too sweet, too syrupy and there's always a weird residue at the bottom of the styrofoam cup when you're done, which inevitably makes you wonder what is actually in that hot cocoa.  But when you're sitting at home wearing four pairs of socks and still have numb toes, you kind of don't care about the contents of that sugary beverage because all you want to do is wrap your hands around it and maybe even pour it over your hands a little bit to regain some feeling.


Yes, it's been that kind of week. Polar vortex, take two.

To lighten things up a little, and to keep moving so that my innards don't freeze, I've been making fun treats at night. They're run-of-the-mill snacks but they distract me from my tiredness. Seriously, this weather makes me want to hibernate.
 

Even though this hot chocolate was regular Swiss Miss in the package, it became pretty special with the addition of whipped cream and sprinkles. And that grilled peanut butter, speculoos and chocolate chip sammy? Much better than anything you'd find at a Dunkin' Donuts. xo






Sunday, January 19, 2014

Yeah, We Know How to Party

When you grow up in New Haven, it always seems logical to get pizza when celebrating. Yesterday was my mother's birthday so of course we headed to Pepe's, smushed into a booth, ordered three huge pizzas, and ate until we had olive oil and tomatoey grease running down the backs of our hands. Yeah, we know how to party.




I was even able to sneak in a few photos; my family doesn't love posing usually but if I don't put them on the spot every once in a while, we'd never have any pictures.  And aren't these off-the-cuff shots the best?  xo 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Daily Lit Challange

 

As a writer, it's so important to read as much as possible. I've been concentrating on writing short stories lately so it's the perfect time to delve into the art.  I plan to read one short story or creative nonfiction essay per day in 2014. These pieces will be sourced from literary magazines and journals,  online and hardcopy, as well as from story collections, and I'll try to include a link to the original work whenever possible.  You can access the list via the tab in the right column of the main page of this blog (or right here).

And every weekend, I'll write about my favorite story of the week. Lucky you.

I'm really excited about this--I just hope I can keep it up for the entire year. Most importantly, there's really no downside to reading a wide variety of great fiction and nonfiction.  If you have any recommendations, please leave a comment or send me a message--I'd love to hear what you think! xo


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Frances Ha (!)




Have you guys seen Frances Ha? I don't remember ever liking a movie's beginning and end so much, but absolutely hating the middle. I soldiered on through the parts that I found intolerable though because I really wanted to see how things turned out, and thankfully, I was rewarded by the movie gods (in case anyone is wondering, that scene at the dinner party right before she impulsively decides to go to Paris was superbly painful, although that was obviously the point).

Loves:
  • It's shot in black and white. Every scene looked beautiful. It's nostalgic and reminiscent of movies from the 1960's and 1970's in the best way possible.
  • The relationship between Frances and Sophie is amazing. It's co-dependent, at least on Frances' end, it's deep, it's personal, and they're closer than if they were actually a romantic couple. These are friendships that women really have in real life, and these are relationships worth exploring.
  • Frances Ha is messy, and unapologetically so. Even though things settle a bit at the end, nothing is tied up completely, and I love that.

Ehhhs:
  •  I've already cited the crazy awkwardness of Frances but my major ehhh is that I'm not sure she would really act like that and still have friends/acquaintances. Her social interactions go beyond awkward to unacceptable at some points. There's a point when she's walking with one of her friends (Grace Gummer) and she starts 'play-fighting' with her, which really just means punching the crap out her even when told to stop several times. It's off-putting and a little unbelievable.

I read somewhere that Greta Gerwig was in every scene of the movie. She's truly what made the movie special; her actions are delicate and fully-loaded. Thanks to Netflix for finally streaming a movie that I've been dying to see. xo


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week-in-Review: Polar Vortex Edition




I think this will be forever remembered as the week of the polar vortex. Eh, it sounds a lot more exciting than it actually was, which was merely a really freaking cold week. We kept our heat on for four days straight (!) and our complex had signs on the door warning of frozen pipes so we let our kitchen faucet drip for a few nights too. Oh, and my car squeals like a piglet in pain when it's below 30 degrees so the sound it makes at 3 degrees is a real treat.

For some reason, I feel compelled to do a round-up reminiscent of those awesome early 2000's music compilations. Without further ado, welcome to Now This Is What I Call the Highs and Lows of a Long Cold Week, Volume 413.

High: We finished watching the second season of Episodes and seriously, I love that show. It's so witty and the acting is great, although I don't think I can ever look at Joey Tribianni the same way.

Low: Man, were people crabby or what? I had doors slammed in my face in the lobby of my office building several times, my co-workers were cranky-pants, and don't even get me started on the rudeness of everyone in the Target this afternoon.  Lighten up, it's January, 2014. Try to recite a mantra or something.

High: Last weekend's quick stop into Anthropologie resulted in me falling in love with the 50% off clearance table and emerging with a fancy apron, a cheese cookbook and a little blue butter dish. Serious scores.

Low: Yesterday morning in the cold, Anthony and I had to jump his car twice. Luckily, he only needed a new battery but what a way to start the day.  His poor jeep looked so sad in the snow and fog.

High: So far, I'm kind of sticking to my 'keep it organized' goal for the new year. We dropped off several boxes to Goodwill earlier and I'm de-cluttering our apartment slowly. Also, I've been drinking lots of water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and trying to really believe in the revitalizing power of citris.

Low: We ran out of everything this week: baggies, tissues, peanut butter, celery, bread crumbs, foil, etc. These are things that I always keep stocked. How random and rather inconvenient.

I hope you're all having great weekends. Happy Saturday night! xo


In honor of the news that New York Transit/MTA is planning to phase-out metro cards, here's a shot I took a few months ago of the back of my metro card. More poetry, please.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fresh.

Hello, lovelies. It's been a while.

It's been about two months since my last post, but it feels like longer. And a lot has happened since the beginning of November. There were so many times I wanted to sign on and share my latest favorites or my weekend plans or even just my jumbled emotions, but I'm glad I waited to get back into the swing of things. It made me miss my daily/weekly writings here in this space much more than I thought I would.

So let's start fresh. 2013 was a mixed year in my book. There were milestones and major changes, a pretty special wedding and the death of a very close family member.  Turmoil ensued more than once, and now, I'm craving a quiet, peace-filled year. I think 2014 has potential.

I'll leave you with a few highlights from the end of last year.  I'm happy to be back. xo


At our annual apple picking outing, the baby alpacas climbed into the feeder to eat.

Stump. Self-explanatory.

On this stage, there is a very small, very colorful Elton John.

We went to see the balloons being blown up in Stamford for their Thanksgiving parade. 
This smurf could not be contained.

Warm churros and fancy hot cocoas.

Ice storms and crystalline trees.

Anthony and I posing at the theater at MSG before A Christmas Story, 
with photo-bombing friends in the background

I love how the red and green tip of the Empire State Building emerges from behind 
other buildings and the corner of a food truck, just like it was meant to.

I took on the task of making my grandmother's traditional Christmas Eve fare, potato croquettes.

Our small but mighty tree.

I bought my cat niece and nephew a cardboard cabin for Christmas. 
I love that they love it.

"Bide your time, for success is near." Hopefully, this fortune is a sign from the cookie gods.